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Atoma – Skylight

The journey far beyond our known space is a dream as old as humanity itself and everyone not dead inside must have gazed upon the endless starlit skies and marveled over what wonders waits beyond that black brooding horizon. Atoma (SE) is the reincarnation of the Swedish doom metal band Slumber containing the same members but brandishing a new and, in my opinion, improved sound. Skylight is a concept album telling the story of a small group of astronauts in leaving a polluted and wasted earth behind in search for a refuge somewhere among the distant stars, a bleak vision but not far from the truth with humanities rampage in search for natural resources. The Music merge seamlessly with the story and although far from the bleak atmosphere of Darkspace or Alrakis, Atoma still manage to conjure that space sound that is so vital to an album dedicated to space exploration.

The album mixes atmospheric instrumental songs with clean vocals and beautiful storytelling in a way that brings thoughts of old sci-fi movies such as Star Trek and Blade Runner to your mind. The ambience and electronics of Skylight is really amazing and sets the band apart from other post metal bands. The front man Ehsan Kalantarpour really knows how to make synthesizers sound like a natural part of any guitars choir of screeching metal. The album opens up with a really cinematic introduction crafting a good ground for the rest of the album to grow upon. And it grows; track by track the album grows into a full-fledged space opera worthy of recognition beyond the borders of this earth. The music is really competent and the hybrid nature of the album gives it a really fresh feeling with both traditional metal and experimental segments. This is especially true in songs such as the instrumental Bermuda Riviera and the title track Skylight with its delicate mix of growling, guitars and harmonizing synthetic orchestrations. The absolute highlight of the album comes with the introduction to Rainmen, a song of pure distilled beauty with its slow pulsing guitars, booming bass and clean heavenly vocals expertly mixed with the ambience and percussion.

The composition of the songs is quite unique and serves as a way of telling a story rather than delivering a set number of repeating structures. I love this way of delivering a coherent and beautiful narrative and combined with beautiful music it is a mindboggling experience in a positive way. When it comes to atmospheric metal of all kinds most of the times the band falls on the execution. Either the synthesizers take too much of the space and you get an electronic album with thrown in guitars or the synthesizers are used as little more than decorations on a harsh wall of sound from the droning guitars. Skylight manages to keep balancing on the edge between worlds and it is a beautiful hybrid of both existences. Simply put, this is my type of album. Beautiful atmospheres, hard metal, lovely concept and a flawless execution make Atomas first album something that all lovers of metal should check out. It is a breath of fresh air after countless years of being trapped inside a drifting hulk in the depths of space..

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Skarsnik
Label: Napalm Records (AT) / Format: CD / Cat. # NPR 409

Tracklisting:

01. Atoma
02. Skylight
03. Hole in the Sky
04. Highway
05. Bermuda Riviera
06. Resonance
07. Solaris
08. Rainmen
09. Saturn and I
10. Cloud Nine